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More homes needed for Ukrainian refugees, says Exeter diocese

14 November 2022


Ailia, aged ten, who is from Ukraine, presents a video released by Exeter diocese, which encourages more people to host refugees in their homes

Ailia, aged ten, who is from Ukraine, presents a video released by Exeter diocese, which encourages more people to host refugees in their homes

THE diocese of Exeter is appealing for more people to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees, as the war continues to cause hardship.

The diocese has released a video online, presented by a Ukrainian girl, Ailia, aged ten, who, along with her mother and sister, lives with Neil and Jean Jameson in the village of Walkhampton, near Tavistock.

In the video, Ailia stands in the playground of Lady Modiford’s C of E Primary School, in Walkhampton. “There are three other children from Ukraine, and I have lots of friends and enjoy learning English,” she says.

Also in the video, Mr Jameson, who is the director of UK Welcomes Refugees, says: “Tragically, there is no sign that the war is ending. Fortunately, all across Devon . . . people are looking out for and hosting the Ukrainians who badly need to be given welcome and sanctuary in our own lovely county. . .

“Could you help Ukrainians here, partly by hosting them? But, if you can’t do that, could you offer work, schooling, English-language training?”

The diocese of Exeter launched a refugee hosting scheme in March, in partnership with Citizens UK. So far, 89 people, in 34 families, have been housed in the diocese, but it says that there are still at least 55 people, in 26 families, awaiting homes.

The Archdeacon of Exeter, the Ven. Andrew Beane, said last week: “We were so encouraged by the enormously positive response from people from across Devon when the scheme was launched in March. We have been able to find homes for nearly 90 people, but the need is still there as the war in Ukraine continues to cause such hardship for its people.

“We fully appreciate that, for us all, the cost-of-living crisis and people’s personal situations may have changed. Still, if you do have a spare room and are open to the idea of helping a Ukrainian family, we would love to hear from you.

“Homes in towns or cities with good transport connections and links with schools are ideal, but we have also found homes in some of our beautiful Devon villages.”

Mr Jameson said last week: “We are almost into our sixth month of hosting now, and the experience has primarily been a privilege and a pleasure — learning, listening, sharing, plus laughing and being sad together — at the tragic war and the implications for Ukraine and the future.

“We would encourage you to talk seriously to any others living in the house, to think carefully, talk to others who are hosts; if possible, engage with your extended family and neighbours to make this a joint and shared challenge.

“If, after that, you have back-up, sound advice, and have had the chance of ‘meeting’ on Zoom with your potential guests, and you still feel positive — go for it! If not, don’t do it — there will be other opportunities for you to help refugees seeking sanctuary in Devon which do not involve them moving into your house.”

Those interested in registering as hosts in Exeter diocese are asked to email ukraine@exeter.anglican.org.


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